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The Eastern Hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis is the largest North American salamander ranging in length from 305 to 74 cm Niering 1985 Eastern Hellbenders are members of the order of tailed amphibians Caudata and the family Cryptobranchidae Along with C a bishopi the Ozark Hellbender it is one of the two subspecies of hellbenders also known as the Allegheny alligator or devil-dog C a alleganiensis is perennially aquatic preferring clear fast-moving rivers or large streams with rocky bottoms Most are found in water 12 to 46 cm deep and tend to avoid areas with thick layers of silt Hillis and Bellis 1971 It ranges from the Susquehanna River and its tributaries in New York and Pennsylvania to the Ohio River and its tributaries including the Allegheny which gives it its species name westward to the Mississippi River and southward to Missouri Arkansas and Georgia It has also been recorded in Iowa Bishop 1943 C a alleganiensis has a dorsoventrally flattened body and a laterally flattened tail The tail is the main means of locomotion but the hellbender can also crawl when seeking refuge Hillis and Bellis 1971 C a alleganiensis is dark gray or olive-brown with a mottled or spotted pattern on its dorsal surface The ventral surface is a lighter shade with few markings Niering 1985 The male and female are similar in appearance but the male is broader and heavier than a female of the same length Eyelids are absent It has five toes on its hind feet and four on the fore feet most of which develop during the larval stage Bishop 1943 C a alleganiensis is nocturnal spending its days hiding under rocks with only the tip of its broad head exposed It exhibits diurnal behavior only during its mating season which occurs in late summer or early fall depending on geographic location Hillis and Bellis 1971 C a alleganiensis practices external fertilization The male
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